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Keeping watch.

AS the November 2006 U.S. elections approach, insurers are paying close attention to numerous races, knowing the industry has much at stake. At the state level, "they're all important to us because we are a state regulated industry" said John Lobert, senior vice president, state government relations, of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. "The future of insurance rate regulation is of key importance. It takes a strong commissioner to ask the governor to move the industry into the 21st century."

Insurance regulation is also an issue at the national level. "If the Democrats take control of the House, insurance regulatory reform will be at risk" said Ben McKay, PCI senior vice president, federal government relations. "It will doom both the SMART Act and optional federal charter in their current form."

A key senatorial race for the industry is in Washington state between incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell and Mike McGavick, former chief executive officer of Safeco, McKay said. "Having knowledgeable people on the Hill, like McGavick with his insurance background, is good for the industry. If he wins that seat, that will guarantee the Republicans hold the Senate," he said.

The Massachusetts gubernatorial race is significant for the industry because of automobile insurance reform, Lobert said. "Gov. Mitt Romney has been supportive of auto reform. With Romney going out of office, will the new governor be interested in keeping reform going?" he said.

Best's Review's coverage of gubernatorial and insurance commissioner races, as well as previews of important state ballot issues, state Supreme Court races and possible changes in key committees of the House of Representatives and Senate, begins on page 26.

Best's Review Wins Award

The Insurance and Financial Communicators Association has presented an Award of Excellence in the Creativity Article category to "Reach for the Stars" by Meg Green in the March 2005 issue of Best's Review. I.F.C.A. is an international organization that promotes the professional development of its members in life insurance and related financial services communications.

Sally Whitney is editor. You may reach her at (908) 439-2200, Ext. 5340, by writing to A.M. Best Co., Ambest Road, Oldwick, NJ 08858, or by e-mail at The e-mail address for Best's Review is
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Title Annotation:Editor's Prologue
Author:Whitney, Sally
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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